Life with a Sound Track

Imagine if your everyday life had a soundtrack. The places you visited from Paris to Hollywood, the same everyday route you took to school or work, the local park down the street or even the closest beach you jog in the morning had a specific soundtrack associated to that location.

Musicians and music lovers alike have had a form of doing this for years through playlist. A group of college students going on a road trip might construct a playlist, or a compilation album that would then become the sounds of a memory forever associating to that road trip. A sixteen year old girl going through a break-up might decide to create a playlist of heartbreaking pop hits.

Adding location awareness to music apps is fast becoming a major mobile trend, as is evident by a rash of new mobile music apps hitting app stores of late. Use of location technology is taking many forms. Many, if not most, are designed to let users tag a location with a song. The result can be a localized, crowdsourced playlist, add context to the discovery of a new song or even be used as a way to find concerts and live shows. Other apps flip it around a bit by letting users in the same area determine what the venue should play. Think about the data local businesses could collect.

For those Spotify Premium listeners, Spotfiy early this year created a new feature for their mobile device app that has tempo detection to the rhythm of your Stride. Here is how it works: Pick from a playlist, such as “Recommended For You,” “Pop Hits,” or “Electronic Moves,” and you’ll hear a woman’s voice say, “Start running to detect tempo.” Your stride shows up as pulses on the green circle until she says that she knows your stride. It takes a few seconds—about ten paces. Then you’ll get a track with matching beats per minute. Genius.

Imagine if these two amazing app features together in one. As a provider of music and sound catalogs such as Spotify, this would open up a whole new world of revenue for musicians. This would create jobs for composers, DJs, playlist makers from all over the world giving them the opportunity to compose and invent infinite sounds/compositions for streaming services. This could re-inspire the consumers value of music and appreciation for it; along with allowing non musicians to compose and create the film score of their own life using the catalog provided by the service.

The Owners of the Music Industry

To further my discussion of my previous article on the revenue artist make within streaming, I wanted to look at the whole picture. Where is most of the revenue going if in 2014 global recorded music totaled in the US at $6.9 billion?  To break down the consumption of music in the US by genre, although possibly in broad terms, according to a study released by Nielson Music, rock music was twice as popular in 2014 as pop musicaccounting for 29% of the industry’s music consumption across album, track purchases, and music streaming.


Forbes magazine also provides us with the top three paid musicians of 2014:

With Dr. Dre’s (Aftermath Entertainment) most recent sale of Beats, the company he cofounded, to Apple for $3 billion, he is listed at number one going home with $620 million this year before taxes. Coming in far second is Beyoncé (Columbia & Sony Music) with $115 million as her most successful year yet.  And finally, The Eagles (Asylum) with their longevity in the industry at $100 million.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that after securing $400 million in fresh funding, Spotify is now worth more than the entire US recorded music industry at $8.4 billion.

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Sony leads the record label trio at $4.9 billion but if we look at Live Nation it will not be long when it takes a step ahead of all three. With Live Nation’s monopoly in live music, being that most revenue is from cold hard ticket sales, it would not be surprising that Live Nation takes the lead within a year.

How is the Music Industry going to make money?

From the very beginning of the “Record Label” we know that a label made money by SELLING and distributing records. Plain and simple. The very minute the world went digital there has been a devestating collapse in revenue specifically in selling records. Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services are usually considered the bad guys. The industry blames them for the lost of revenue. Times magazine calculated in November 2014 that an artist’s stated payout range is $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream. Before Taylor Swift pulled her music off Spotify her chart breaking hit “Shake it off” streamed 46.3M times with only a pay out between $280k-380k. Sounds ridiculous but consider this, although an artist such as Taylor swift is making peanuts through Spotify services, there is a gain elsewhere. The terabytes of specific data being collected through Spotify is unfathomable. Spotify now knows that Sarah Smith currently lives in San Diego, CA, 25 years of age, in a happy mood and on her afternoon jog is wanting to listen to “Shake it off”. At Taylor Swift’s level of success this information is automatic but for a DIY band out of Boston now can promote, market and shape their tour around this information. If the Boston based band is getting the most streams out of Chicago at the age demographic of 18-20, performing a concert at a university in Chicago could be a very valuable show.

Which leads me to my next point. The industry’s last hope of survival is live performance. The EDM scene seems to be getting it right. Music Times calculated the Calvin Harris will walk away with $400k per gig in his New Hakkasan Deal. EDM festivals such as Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival, or Sensation bringing in hundreds of thousands of fans have shown huge strides in changing live performance. Selling albums is no longer the main focus but selling tickets at a bare minimum of $100 is top priority. In order to do this, millions of dollars needs to be invested into a production of  a live performance that is so monumental and life changing to an attendee that it could never be reproduced in any other form. On the other hand a website called Sofar is a live performance/streamed based platform shifting live shows into a more exclusive setting. Once you join the free membership, hundreds of exclusive  shows all over the world are now available to purchase tickets. Choose the city you are in and see the next show; the only catch is that you don’t know the location until the day before nor the artist you are seeing until the day of. This platform is a genius way to help people discover new artist in a social setting that can be just as impactful in their lives as a mega show but without the millions of dollars being invested into a production for one night. How amazing would it be to see one of your favorite artist perform in a living room big enough for maybe 20 people?
Until the next best thing, the way I see musicians making money in an industry as loved but taken for granted as this one, is innovating a live experiences so spectacular, big or small, that it will never be forgotten.

Putting It To Rights: An Interview With Women’s Symposium Organizer

As mentioned in a previous post, Berklee Valencia was lucky enough to host the Women’s Empower Symposium- an all day event packed with speakers spanning various job fields, all in the name of empowering women. So I decided to sit down with Claïs Lemmens, an organizer of the event.


Berklee Valencia: How did the event come together?

Claïs Lemmens: We were at one of the Lagos concerts, and [a fellow organizer] came up to me and said, “It’s so weird, we were looking at the list of speakers, and there’s one woman on it, and like 20 men. Isn’t that weird? Shouldn’t we do something about this?” So we all started talking, and a lot of people got involved. We were having fun, and the day after we started a Facebook chat. We started thinking, “let’s think about who we know in our own personal circles that we can ask to Skype in.” This was not going to be a whole symposium, it was just going to be Skype sessions. We didn’t really need money to do Skype sessions, we just needed people that were willing to Skype in, so we started to make a list, and it was actually [our advisor] who said, “Why don’t you just make this a whole day event? Or even two days? Like a conference?” So we started working thinking about that, and the ball really started rolling when we got the diversity grant from the school. “This is the money you can start with and then maybe do something with.” And we were like, “We’re not gonna spend $4,000 on Skype sessions, so now we have to do something.” So that’s when it got super, super serious. The Facebook conversation that we had in the beginning, we cut it down from the people who weren’t really being responsive, then we had a first meeting. At that first meeting, we’d already started giving each other roles and responsibilities. I really wanted to do operations because I love thinking of details, and how everything works, and where everyone has to be.

BV: Why did you believe an event like this would be important to put on? Why would it be beneficial for the Berklee community?

CL: Every industry is still very male dominated, especially if you look at the CEOs and other executives. We see that in class as well, and in the music industry. All the executives are, for the most part, middle-aged, white men. So why is this good for the community? Well, especially for our program, we’re 50/50 in gender. It’s different in the other programs where girls are outnumbered by men. For us, it’s really balanced, which makes it a little schizophrenic to see that in class we’re treated the same way, but if we want to look forward and see what the future might bring, and the industry as a whole, that’s not the case. It’s not going to be…I’m not going call it equality because there’re different layers in that. But the music industry is not at all what we see in our class, so we wanted to give a voice to that female side, to our female students; but actually for everyone, just to make sure that they know that there’s also women and try to break the stereotype. One of the panels was called, “Recreating the Narrative”, and that’s what we were trying to do. And step away from that middle-aged white man in executive positions.

BV: And do you think that worked?

CL: I think so. We were frightened that there wouldn’t be enough people. Afterwards, especially the students who got to go to the workshops and ask questions, they said, “I’ve never felt so inspired, and these women were amazing, and still so down to earth, and they still find a way to balance family and have their job.” Their reactions were very positive for us, and they’re the reason we’re going to want to do it again next year. For next year, we’re gonna try handing it over to someone else. Hopefully, the person who gets to be the fellow gets to take the lead role and take charge of that next year.

BV: How did you go about picking speakers?

CL: We started looking for people in our own personal networks. For example, Christine Krzyzanowski used to be [another organizer’s] former boss. Angie Martinez, [one of the other organizers] did an internship with her. We got a bunch of people just by connecting with Berklee Boston. They said, “We know people who are cool or would be good for this.” Judy Cantor-Navas was actually recommended by Berklee Boston, and they paid for her ticket. That’s why we tried to find them close to home because it would be easier logistically and easier to convince them. It all really started with the first one, which was Yvette Noel-Schure. And that was because [another organizer] went to school with her daughter and knew that she was the publicist of Beyonce, and just wrote her a Facebook message. That’s what started it eventually because Yvette said yes. We were like, “We have to get her. Whatever happens, even if we don’t have any money after her flight, we have to have her.” And that was great, because we could say, “We have Beyonce’s publicist,” and other speakers would actually take us seriously. If we just say, “we have a secretary of some festival in Narnia,” they’d be like, “Well…okay, sounds like a student event that won’t be very big.” When we sent other application forms to the other speakers, we put it in there. They’d be like, “Ooh, well, this is probably going to be a big thing”. Even though it was not a big thing yet at all. We were still struggling with the budget, we were not sure about flights, and they would change all the time, and we were looking for venues and we had nothing. But we had Yvette, and that’s what started it all.

BV: What was the best part of the event?

CL: We can use this success to convince the speakers for next year, that all the speakers from this year already had a chance to network. These ladies, at the one dinner we had at the end of the day, these ladies were all taking selfies the whole time and putting them on Instagram and saying, “Look I made a bunch of new friends that I’m gonna do business with now!” That was amazing to see. We thought we were going to bring them to Berklee, but we actually brought them to each other. And we didn’t expect that.

BV: Do you think the event had an impact on Berklee?

CL: They’re not going to change their faculty, they’re not going to say, “Let’s fire half our faculty just to hire more women.” And that’s fine. At the end of the day, it’s not about gender, it’s about how capable you are. And all the professors at our school, they’re very capable of what they’re doing. But for guest speakers, I’m pretty sure when we started this event that Emilien was contacting speakers for next year. So I’m pretty sure it will have an impact, at least a little bit. I can only hope. It had a positive impact so far this year. Emilien said he didn’t even realize that there was only one woman, and now he does, so at least they’re aware of the problem.

BV: Do you think the Boston campus will be inspired to host similar events?

CL: There’s an event we modeled our symposium after, which was “Women in Tech”, at Berklee Boston, so they have their act together, they know about all this stuff. They think about everything, so this whole gender thing must’ve come up.

BV: Any advice to girls for not getting discouraged?

CL: Find a mentor, find a female mentor who has achieved a lot, someone that knows the business. We’ve been emailing with the ladies from the event, and job searches have been made, and connections have been made. I would say find a mentor because you can fall back on this example you have. If you feel discouraged, at least you have someone to look up to. Don’t hate on men, it’s a really fine line between this whole empowering women thing and blaming guys.


Berklee As A Frontrunner

Just two weekends ago, Berklee College of Music hosted the Women’s Empower Symposium at their campus in Valencia, Spain.


With speakers from all over the spectrum, the event brought the likes of music journalists, producers, composers, PR agents, and everything in between. Featuring some of the top names in the business, the affair drew in sizable crowds for the various lectures, workshops, and presentations by women such as Beyonce’s PR agent.

This puts Berklee in a significant position in relation to other music schools across the globe. Though they’re certainly not the first to host an event like this, this particular event garnered enough attention to make it one of the more significant ones. Upon Googling “women in music symposium”, 7 of the 10 top hits on the first results page link to Berklee’s event.

What does this mean for Berklee, then? They’ve shown that they’re willing to put a foot forward when it comes to matters of diversity in their business- and their business is creating musicians ready to storm the industry, and what good is that if your female students lack equal encouragement? Of course, with a hefty handful of music schools within the US as well as elsewhere, there’s been a slimming disparity between the genders of students. Which is great news- more women are feeling more confident in their abilities and are, therefore, more willing to pursue their dreams in lieu of “more practical” options. Guys don’t have to be the only rock stars.

And so Berklee has set a precedent not only for other music schools but also for themselves. While other institutions will have to up their pace to keep in stride with them, Berklee will have to continue clearing boundaries and making an example of themselves. Perhaps this is contingent on the promise of more events like this in the future, perhaps it’s reliant on their emphasis on their female students. No matter- it’s a huge step in the right direction.

See, the reason an event like this is so monumental for Berklee is in its impact. Looking past the search engine results, there was a resounding physical response at the campus. Not only was turnout an indicator of the event’s success, but the coverage throughout the school it received proved that as well. There wasn’t a hallway you could walk down without passing a poster for the symposium. Professors altered class times to ensure students could attend the event. In maintaining the appearance that Berklee was really passionate about the event, it fostered the same passion in the students. Write this down, Juilliard.

Throughout the day, attendees could sit in on panel discussions regarding various topics in the music industry- particularly how the particular women speaking were involved. Or they could attend various workshops crafted for specific interests, such as music blogging or banishing stage fright. When it came down to it, there was something for everyone, and there was something at almost every hour throughout the event. Never a dull or free moment.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the event, you can watch clips from some of the panels here.


Technology Changes Everything.

If there is one thing that has become quite obvious is that technology has the power to change everything. It has certainly transformed the music industry throughout the years! From the way we make music to the way we produce it. From the way we source music to the way we listen to it. It can be said that technology has affected the music industry in both positive and negative ways. The short clip above provides an excellent example of this.

If you were to type “technology and the music industry” into the multiple search engines that are available to us, you would soon discover that the majority of the articles out there focus on the negative effects technology has brought to the music industry. It is important to point out that technological advances have not only affected music but also publishing, television, radio, and the news. While it is true that perhaps technology has had a negative impact on the music industry (as well as other industries), there are many other changes that have been positive.

Today, I am choosing to focus on the positive as it is important to recognize favorable disruption. Let’s look at the short clip below.

Positive changes in the music industry (thanks to technological advances) include: consumers having access to music more than ever before, online music education availability, new musical instruments, access to digital tools (by both artists and consumers), artist collaboration increase, artistic control and independence, artist and fan communication/interaction via social media channels, crowd funding platforms, etc. All these changes continue to ultimately shape the music industry today.

Though there are many who feel nostalgic when thinking about the way the music industry used to be, it is important to appreciate the way the music industry is now. It will never be the way it used to be. In other words, it is important to see the good and bad (without specifically focusing on the bad). I am not saying the music industry is perfect. In fact, there are many things that could be improved. I am simply saying that technology should not to be seen as evil. It is important to embrace it and welcome the changes technological advances may continue to bring.

New Zealand #2

36 weeks in the US Billboard’s Hot 100, Top 10 in Portugal and Israel, #1 in Canada, Australia Ireland, South Africa,Austria and of course in New Zealand. The band  OMC  released in December 1995 single “How Bizarre” with the song with the same name and made a big “boom” in the music industry of their Country.


That’s a small history with the big impact that this country had in the music, of course there are much more but this ones interested me the most. An other thing is that they also have their own Music Award since 1965, this award show is presented by Record New Zealand is a non-profit trade association of record producers, distributors and artists recording who sell music in New Zealand. (

There is also a big campaign that started in 2001  called About New Zealand music Month this showcased on radio and television and in live performances, this happens each may. This has helped music on commercial radio stations to increased dramatically from around 10% in 2000 to nearly 23% in 2005. The amount of New Zealand music sold had also grown, from 5.45% of the total market in 2000 to over 10% by 2004. Us you can read NZ has a big industry and they make it happen. Here is a link so you can find 31 one different stories about NZ music.

“The Vision of the Music Commission is a successful music industry in New Zealand.”

Music Commission

Finding an artist to develop their career “by the face*”

*idiomatic expression (literally “by the face”),

doesn’t exist in English and it means “for free”.

When I was asked to find an artist or music band based in Valencia to manage for free, I leapt into my FB searching for information.

Before then, I had never thought about the number/amount of bands that I could have added to my account, and certainly it would have been very useful to have a tool to order all by location and genre. (This is a call to all you App Developers!!)

The fact is, that after a thorough analysis of almost all my contacts and likes regarding music bands from Valencia, I had a total number of around 30 bands (including solo artists). This, in addition to the fact that -I am an organizing junkie and I don’t like to mix football and politics-, I have two FB accounts, one professional and one private, it’s been a big challenge to conclude this investigation.

So, from my personal view, most local bands play indie or rock; you can also find a growing number of punk, experimental and new wave bands, and let’s not forget electronic music: Valencia in the nineties was for a few years the most important place for electronic music in Europe.(If you haven’t heard about the legendary Ruta del Bacalao – the techno movement of the 90s – just wait for my next post!)

Going on with my research, I realized that finding an artist with talent, knowledge of the industry and willingness to take advice and work with a team of Music Business students was not as hard as I could have imagined. Or maybe we were just lucky! We talked with 8 different artists and all of them were really keen on collaborating. The hardest part of this story was to choose one of them.

From this experience I could know better the local music scene and the compelling need of almost all artists that play music in this city, that no matter if they are interested in making a career in music or just want to play for fun, to have:

more exposure

promotion and

a press kit

And I guess, this experience can be extrapolated to other cities, since LOCAL is the new GLOBAL.

Is there music Business in Ecuador?

Ecuador is a 13-millon inhabitants country in South America. Its neighbouring countries are Colombia and Peru. Ecuador has four different climatic regions with a lot of different cultures. Why is this important? It is one of the reasons why there are many different kinds of music. In the last 20 years, there has been a huge increase of  musicians because there are different music schools and there is an increasing amount of places to show their talent.

Now, this rapid increase has caused some more questions to answer. Are these new musicians interested to make money out of their talent? Do they want to live from the music? Of course they do, and here we start with problems because there are so many cultural factors that people have to change. For example, there are artists that they don’t get paid. Also, there are organisations that make festivals which never take place and then artists do not get paid. How do we have Colombia so near but comparing to the music industry so far?

Mr. Architect it would be a pleasure to own a house that you designs but is it ok if I pay you the first half in 3 months? and the other half with some product like an exchange?

Sounds funny or not? This sort of deals seem unrealistic but this is happening to the musicians in every single show that they make. The music is also a product, it takes a lot of time and effort to make a show, record a disc. etc. We the musicians have to change this, we are the only ones that can teach people that we are also working and deserve to get paid in a just way. I know it is difficult but if all the artists make this, say no when we don’t get paid for our product or sign a contract, or be offered to get paid at least the 50% after a concert, and say no to that, then things are going to start changing. I thing artists can also work altogether and make their own shows or festivals to win money an also teach the inexperienced bands to think in this way. It all starts in one point and this could be one of them.

My recommendation: always sign a contract the moment that you shake hands with the organiser and write all the  clauses like how to get paid and when, all what you need to perform, transportation, etc. In Ecuador, the music Industry it is still in diapers but there are people that are trying to be smarter with musicians because they think they have the power, they own a place or organise a big event. They are nothing if we don’t perform, be smart and sign a contract with them and make this happen!!